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Merrill Hosts 2 Unique Races This Weekend!


Merrill’s the place to be this weekend! Choose from one of two unique races or catch both of them!

The International Sled Dog Racing Association-sanctioned races, sponsored by the Wisconsin Trail-blazers Sled Dog Club, will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 22 and 9 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 23 at Pine River School for Young Learners, 4165 State Hwy. 61.

There will be 3-dog junior, 4-, 6-, and 10-dog, 1- and 2-dog skijoring races, as well as kiddie and celebrity races. Once the dogs are at the starting line, the excited barking ends as they get down to business of doing their favorite thing – pulling the lightweight sled and the musher along the snow-covered race course. Visitors can find refreshments and raffles inside the school.

Merrill Ice Drags will kick off the race season on Saturday, Jan. 22 on Lake Alexander at Council Grounds State Park, with registration beginning at 9 a.m. and racing starting at noon. They host various classes from rubber tire to outlaw.

The event includes more than 15 race classes, including for classic muscle cars, high-speed “rail” cars, souped up trucks and SUVs, even family cars and minivans. An average of 50 racers compete for cash, prizes and trophies.

The track setup is a hybrid of natural and man-made technology. It features frozen snow banks separating the two drag tracks, a modern timing system, a two-story race control tower and a “Christmas tree” stuck in the frozen snow. Some of the racers run “nailies” – tires with 3,000 to 3,5000 dry wall screws protruding from the tires for the absolute best ice traction.
The club notes they host “the fastest 1/8th mile drag auto racing on ice in the world.” The world record — 141.6 MPH and 5.431 ET in 660 feet – was set on this track!
They race for five consecutive Saturdays (weather permitting), and end with the grudge match/bracket races. Other dates are Jan. 29, Feb 4, 11, 18. 25.

Admission to the race is free.

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